|Publication number||US20050128304 A1|
|Application number||US 10/506,368|
|Publication date||16 Jun 2005|
|Filing date||6 Mar 2003|
|Priority date||6 Feb 2002|
|Publication number||10506368, 506368, PCT/2003/186, PCT/IL/2003/000186, PCT/IL/2003/00186, PCT/IL/3/000186, PCT/IL/3/00186, PCT/IL2003/000186, PCT/IL2003/00186, PCT/IL2003000186, PCT/IL200300186, PCT/IL3/000186, PCT/IL3/00186, PCT/IL3000186, PCT/IL300186, US 2005/0128304 A1, US 2005/128304 A1, US 20050128304 A1, US 20050128304A1, US 2005128304 A1, US 2005128304A1, US-A1-20050128304, US-A1-2005128304, US2005/0128304A1, US2005/128304A1, US20050128304 A1, US20050128304A1, US2005128304 A1, US2005128304A1|
|Inventors||Frederick Manasseh, Omri Ben-Tov, Zion Hadad, Jonathan Moav, Asher Rubel|
|Original Assignee||Manasseh Frederick M., Omri Ben-Tov, Zion Hadad, Jonathan Moav, Asher Rubel|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (85), Referenced by (35), Classifications (7), Legal Events (1)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention relates to and claims priority from U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/362,309 for A SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR TRAVELER INTERACTION MANAGEMENT, filed on 7 Mar. 2002.
PCT patent application number PCT/IL02/00593 for METHOD, APPARATUS AND SYSTEM FOR CAPTURING AND ANALYZING INTERACTION BASED CONTENT, filed 18 Jul. 2002; PCT patent application number PCT/IL02/01042 for SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR VIDEO CONTENT ANALYSIS-BASED DETECTION, SURVEILLANCE, AND ALARM MANAGEMENT, filed 24 Dec. 2002; PCT patent application serial number PCT/IL03/00097 for METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR VIDEO FRAME SEQUENCE-BASED OBJECT TRACKING, filed 6 Feb. 2003; PCT patent application serial number PCT/IL02/00197 for SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR CAPTURING, ANALYZING AND RECORDING SCREEN EVENTS, filed 12 Mar. 2002; PCT patent application serial number PCT/IL01/00796 for SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR CAPTURING BROWSER SESSIONS AND USER ACTIONS, filed 24 Aug. 2001; PCT patent application serial number PCT/IL02/00741 for RECORDING AND QUALITY MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS FOR WALK-IN CENTERS, filed 5 Sep. 2002; are related to the present invention and are incorporated herein by reference.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to audio, video and data recording and retrieval, to real-time data management, to security systems in general, and to a system and method for traveler interactions management, in particular.
2. Discussion of the Related Art
Worldwide civil aviation security related incidents are on the rise. A US government report concerning criminal acts against civil aviation lists 42 significant attacks in the year 2000 alone, the highest number of attacks in one year recorded since 1994. According to this report, in a period of five years ending the year 2000 thirty attacks occurred inside airports. Other attacks include hijacking, robbery, bombing, commandeering, and shootings. On Sep. 11, 2001 a group of terrorists hijacked a number of civilian airplanes and crashed them into the World Trade Center buildings in New York. A significant number of lives perished in this attack. In the wake of this attack new laws were passed to curtail terrorist activities and a new US government office for Homeland Security was established to strengthen US defenses from foreign threats. This attack exposed the many loopholes in the security of civil commercial air transportation. Such include the inability of governmental organizations as well as civil authorities to identity and determine the whereabouts of passengers boarding aircrafts at the airport or other vehicles of transport in bus depots and train stations. In wake of the events of September 11, a US White House Commission on Aviation and Security concluded that the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) should establish a security system that will provide a high level of protection for all aviation information systems. The same commission also suggested that the FAA should work with airlines and airport consortia to ensure that all passengers are positively identified and subjected to security procedures before they board aircraft.
The process of traveling by air begins with purchasing a ticket and continues through certain service stations in the embarkation airport, prior to the flight itself and in additional service and control stations in the destination airport. Most of the service and control stations are manned by agents, such as a travel agents, check-in agents, security personal, border control officers, ground attendants and the like. Some of these agents are already equipped with passive monitoring or other devices, such as computers. The interaction between traveler and agents occurs, for example, in the following service stations: 1. Ticket purchase—performed at the travel agent, by purchase of an e-ticket on the World Wide Web data communications network, airport ticketing counters; 2. Check-in counters, including curbside counters and VIP check-in; 3. Check-in security—conducted by a check-in agent; 4. Passport control—conducted by border control officers; 5. Passenger and hand luggage screening; 6. Baggage screening; 7. Boarding gates; 8. Baggage claim; 9. Immigration control; 10. Customs; 11. Transfer counters; and the like. Presently all these service stations operate independently of each other (except ticketing) and data, available or accumulated from the interactions with the traveler is not shared by all the relevant parties interacting with the travelers. The traveler is not identified and verified at each service station, and no verification is accomplished against available external databases. Furthermore, no single location exists where traveler-interactions-specific collections of information are recorded for real-time monitoring or for off-line debriefing.
As a result agents are not alerted in case of traveler discrepancies, which might have grave implications on travel safety. Currently, it is practically impossible to trace a specific traveler's route through airports, bus depots, train stations and the like and in general security depends solely on the quality and performance of agents responding to a single interaction. Since video or audio monitoring is not available at the service and control stations of travel, recording of traveler-agent interactions is impossible, which results in lack of real-time data, limited evaluation of agent's performance for quality assurance and limited agent training capabilities on real-time situations.
There is therefore a need for a system and method that will overcome the deficiencies of the prior art by providing a system and method for traveler interactions management. Such a system would preferably automate the procedure concerning the agent-traveler interaction, will preferably require identification of the traveler, log such interactions, analyze the interactions, resolve any discrepancies and alert users, agents or law enforcement agencies. Such a system would further utilize advanced traveler tracking methods that would provide the option of tracking travelers for an operationally effective period and would continue tracking objects in an efficient manner even where the tracked object is occluded.
One aspect of the present invention regards an apparatus for the analysis of a captured multi-media interaction associated with a traveler and an agent, the apparatus comprising an at least one first station for capturing an at least one first interaction along a traveler path, an at least one second station for capturing an at least one second interaction along the traveler path; and an analysis device for comparing the at least one second interaction with the at least one first interaction. The apparatus further includes a locally or remotely located control station for storing the at least one first and second interactions captured. The apparatus also includes an alarm identifier device for identifying an alarm situation based on the comparing of the at least one second interaction with the at least one first interaction. The apparatus further comprises an alarm-generating device for generating an alarm associated with an alarm situation identified by the alarm identifier device. The apparatus further comprises a station poll data device for polling stations for the at least one first and second interactions. The apparatus is also connected to a database for storing and retrieving the at least one first and second interactions. The apparatus also includes a replay device for replaying at the least one first or second interactions. The apparatus further comprises an object tracking device for tracking an object within the at least one first or second interactions. The at least one first and second stations comprise at least one video capturing device, an at least one audio recording device, an at least one data capture device, an at least one storage device and an at least one data retrieval device. The at least one first station and second station are located in the same transportation port. The at least one first station and second station are located in remote transportation ports. The apparatus further comprises a control room for recording and storing the at least one first and second interactions. The apparatus further comprises a local or remote operator for observing the operation of the apparatus. The control station comprises a recording and retrieval system. The capturing is performed in real time to be analyzed upon capture or at a later time. The transportation port can be an airport or a train station or a bus depot or a seaport or a any other type of vehicle for transporting persons. The interaction is associated with a traveler or a baggage item. The at least one and second interactions comprise a captured data, video and audio depicting the interaction between the agent and the traveler. The apparatus also comprises a quality assurance device for analyzing the at least one first or second interaction for analyzing the quality of service provided to the traveler by the agent. The quality assurance device alerts a supervisor where the quality of service provided by an agent fails to meet a predetermined standard. The quality assurance device initiates a training session for an agent. The apparatus further comprises a station transfer data device for managing data transferred from stations for the at least one first and second interactions.
A second aspect of the present invention regards a method for the analysis of a captured interaction associated with a traveler and an agent, the method comprising the steps of capturing an at least one first interaction at a first station along a traveler path, capturing an at least one second interaction at a second station along the traveler path, and comparing the at least one second interaction with the at least one first interaction. The method further comprises the step of recording at a control station the at least one first and second interactions captured. The method further comprises the step of storing at a control station the at least one first and second interactions captured. The method also includes the step of an alarm identifier device identifying an alarm situation based on the comparing of the at least one second interaction with the at least one first interaction. The method further comprises the step of generating an alarm associated with an alarm situation identified by the alarm identifier device. The method further comprises the step of polling the at least one first and second interactions from the first and second stations. The method further comprises the step of retrieving the at least one first and second interactions from a database. The method further comprises the step of replaying through the use of a replay device the at the least one first or second interactions. The method further comprises the step of tracking an object within the at least one first or second interactions. The method further comprises the step of analyzing the at least one first or second interaction for quality assurance purposes. The at least one first station and second station are located in the same transportation port. Alternatively, the at least one first station and second station are located in remote transportation ports. The method further comprises the step of recording and storing at a second control room the at least one first and second interactions. The step of analysis comprises comparing the at least first or second interaction to determine discrepancies in the interaction between the traveler and the agent. Alternatively, the step of analysis comprises comparing the at least second interaction with the at least first interaction to determine discrepancies between the second and first at least one interactions. Alternatively, the step of analysis comprises analysis of the at least first or second interaction to determine whether the traveler is a security threat to other travelers. The step of analysis can also comprise analysis of the at least second or first at least one interaction to determine if the agent is providing a quality of service at a predetermined level. The method further comprises the step of transferring data from a station to a server device.
The present invention will be understood and appreciated more fully from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the drawings in which:
The present invention provides for a system and method for traveler interactions management. The invention discloses a system and method according to which data, audio, and video comprising information is captured at specific locations along the traveler's path. The information is recorded in real-time or if real-time recording is not possible, near real-time recording is performed. The information can be accessed in real-time or can be analyzed off-line in order to establish the route the traveler has passed and the handling of the traveler by each agent along the travel path. The system can be used over a long span of time (from one travel segment to months and even years) during which traveler interactions are recorded and managed. The system analyzes and may allow access to historical information, such as captured traveler profile, associated identification information, traveler preferences, and the like, recorded in reference to a specific traveler. Travelers can perform numerous interactions with the system and each will be recorded and placed in the system's database and analyzed. While the present invention describes such interactions within an airport and an aircraft, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that such interactions can be managed in other travel junctions and vehicles of transportations, including for example in sea ports, bus and train stations, taxi stations, underground trains, ships, cars, trains, and the like. For the capturing of data, audio and video current or prospective computerized systems are used to obtain information about travelers. The systems used may include personal computers, video and other cameras, microphones, scanners, hand held and mobile device, systems for baggage and passenger management, security systems such as metal detectors and the like. Agents may use computers to enter diverse relevant information about each traveler; and agents may provide positive identification of passengers at certain points along the path of the passenger. Traveler information entered into computers is captured while keyed-in through the operation of a screen event capture software module and stored in a suitable manner. Other system such as the video and audio systems will capture the interaction between the agent and the passenger. Video and other cameras may also capture the appearance of the passenger as well as other important features, such as his texture, cloths, demeanor, accompanying persons, size, and appearance of baggage and other information, which may be captured by cameras. Cameras may include standard video cameras or other cameras capturing heat emission or the like. The interaction may also include the conversation between the agent or officer and the passenger. The audio recording may include the voice of the passenger for real-time identification or for off-line analysis. Similarly, the agent's interaction with the various software systems used in the port or vehicle will also be captured both for analysis and quality assurance to determine quality of service. The agent or officer may also be asked to enter additional information concerning the passenger, such as a personal information, answers to predetermined, such as security-related questions, and any other information pertinent to the later identification and follow up of the interaction. The various captured multi-media content along the path of the traveler is recorded locally or remotely and may be used in real time or off-line for analysis or for quality assurance purposes. The ability of the system and method of the present invention to follow each traveler from that point in time at which a ticket of travel is purchased until the point in time at which the travelers' final destination, such as a hotel at the port of arrival, is reached, enables law enforcement agencies as well as civil authorities, travel companies and carriers to locate, identify, and analyze each or part or all of the interactions. Such will also assist in creating a profile for the traveler. A profile for the traveler may be used for a plurality of trips and for analysis in real time or off line of the profile. Links between travelers may be easily established. Similarly, links between baggage and one or more travelers or persons may also be easily established. The system and method are operative across a plurality of countries, regions and ports of travel. It may be extended to hotels, vehicles of transportations (airplanes, ships, and the like), and other locations where traveler-agent interactions exist and may be captured. Monitoring in real-time for discrepancies can detect suspicious signs and may generate an alarm to specific personnel. Furthermore, the performance of off-line analysis assists in the reconstruction of the traveler's diverse interactions in order to enrich the profile information of the traveler, and in order to provide the option of producing reports, and high-level statistical analysis.
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Station 104 is a passport control point. Station 104 is manned by a passport-checking officer 138 equipped with a computing device 140. The device 140 is equipped with various input/output devices, such as a display screen, a keyboard, a pointing device and the like. The passport-checking agent 158 interacts with a traveler 146 and enters the information resulting from the interaction into the computing device 140 for purposes of validation, verification, storage and security checks. The traveler would present this officer with the same travel documents shown earlier. Passport control officers are also equipped with computing devices having access to national or international databases including information about travelers'departures and arrivals into the country they are in. The information is suitably formatted to computer-readable data and sent to a control room 150 or to a remote location via communication line 101 to be processed, integrated with the traveler 146 record, recorded, stored and optionally retrieved. The station 104 further includes several image acquiring devices, such as video cameras 142, 144 that capture a sequentially ordered sequence of images visually reflecting the agent-traveler interaction. The captured sequence of images show the visual characteristics of the traveler 146, such as facial features, physical size, hair color, clothing, personal items carried (handbag 148) as well as the behavior patterns of the traveler 146. The captured video mages are sent via the communications line 101 to the control room 150 or to a remote location in order to be processed, to be integrated with the traveler 146 record, to be recorded, stored and optionally to be retrieved. Audio capture devices, such as a microphone capture an audio record of the agent-traveler interaction. Reference is made to the detailed description of the interaction and the data capture method provided in the related PCT application serial number PCT/IL02/00741 for RECORDING AND QUALITY MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS FOR WALK-IN CENTERS, filed 5 Sep. 2002 incorporated herein by reference. The the audio stream is sent via communication line 101 to the control room 150 or to a remote location in order to be processed, to be integrated with the traveler's 146 record, to be recorded, stored and to be retrieved where needed. As with other stations, the information captured may be analyzed on line and in real time to identify discrepancies in the traveler's documents, information provided, demeanor and behavior, appearance, hand bag, party and the like. The capture of such interactions and the ability to supervise the officers in real time may also assist a supervisor of the officers to better handle large amounts of travelers and avoid long lines.
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In all the above stations video, audio and data is captured by the various devices, such as video camera, audio microphone, computer keyboard and the like. The information captured may be recorded locally or remotely. The information may be captured by one combined device such as a video camera having a microphone there within or independently by separate devices such as a microphone attached to the agent's computer, and a small video camera located in a hidden location. The agent's computer may also include a sound card or a microphone connected to a device coupled to a communications network, said device capable of transforming audio received by the microphone to data packets to be communicated. Such device is produced and manufactured by Way2Call Communications Ltd., Netanya, Israel. As will be shown later on the information captured can be analyzed in real time or off line at the request of an officer or controller. The analysis may seek discrepancies in the information the traveler provided agents or officers. The analysis also examines a traveler's record to see that the traveler has not skipped any one station which the traveler is required to go through. It may alternatively include an analysis of the video images or the audio record captured to see whether the traveler changed his appearance or collected different articles, such as a new handbag, or a an additional baggage and the like. The analysis may also identify the surrounding of the traveler, such as whether he is traveling with a companion and whether such person has left the traveler or continues to travel. The veracity of the traveler's statements may be identified by the analysis of the traveler's responses to the agents or officers, through the analysis of the interaction video or audio record. Reference is made in this connection to the related applications mentioned above relating to content analysis and solutions for walk-in environments. In addition, the interactions may be used for quality assurance purposes, in order to identify and correct agents or officers responses to various situations as well as for training of new agents and officers. Quality assurance interactions are reviewed to determine the quality of service provided by agents or officers. Quality assurance interactions are also reviewed to determine that the agent has followed a predetermined conduct, such as asking the appropriate security questions. Supervisors may establish a predetermined level of service the agent must meet. Such can include for example, a rule according to which the agent or officer must greet the traveler or request a particular detail. Supervisors of agents and officers may use the interactions to review the operation of subordinate agents or officers in real time. Such supervision may enhance efficiency and locate problems to be handled by officers at their outset thus increasing the travelers' satisfaction from the service provided. The system may analyze in real time interactions captured to determine if the agent or officer has met the predetermined level established by the supervisor. Off line quality management may be accomplished by supervisors filing evaluation forms on subordinate agents or officers while reviewing replays of the interactions captured along the traveler's path. Evaluation forms are forms, which contain scores, based on which score a training session may be assigned to agents in order to promote the agent's quality of service skills and to reward agents.
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The system of the present invention can be implemented in association with a software system'such as NiceVision® (Suit) by Nice Systems Ltd. of Ra'anana Israel. Nice Vision® is a digital video recording system for the closed circuit TV security and public safety industries. NiceVision® provides facilities using multiple cameras with continuous multi-channel, high motion video and audio digital synchronized recording and tools for video data retrieval. The person skilled in the art will appreciate that the system and method described herein can be linked and used in conjunction with integrated security knowledge management solutions such as a full access control system, which can serve as partial infrastructure for the present invention. One example of such a system is the OnGuard Access system manufactured by Lenel System International, Pittsford, N.Y.
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The above-described structure of the database is exemplary only and was provided for ready understanding of the present invention. Various additional database elements could be added, some of the elements could be combined, and some of the elements could be dropped following the reduction to practice of the invention.
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Note should be taken that the above described flow chart is extremely simplified to provide for the ready understanding of the program operation. A plurality of additional steps could be implemented, such as flight data validation, and the like. Step 346 could involve a plurality of sub-steps, such as recognizing a discrepancy in the number of traveler's companions among the various stations, identifying a discrepancy in the number of baggage pieces, loosing track of the traveler between stations, and the like.
A Local Area Network (LAN), a Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) or any other type of local area networks can be used in the airport area to connect all the stations and the control room. The network will be also connected to a Wide Area Network, such as the Internet or any other suitable communications network, by which the system communicates with relevant data sources located anywhere in the world. Such data sources could be local police files, Interpol or FBI files, national or international databases and the like. The same LAN permits the operators of the system to communicate by electronic mail with other security facilities to get information or clear certain issues. The present invention is also operative to issue warnings and alerts in real time, which are issued in response to rule-based analysis performed by the system. The rule-based analysis can be based upon certain predetermined or adaptive profiles.
Persons skilled in the art will appreciate that at least one or a plurality of stations can be employed in association with the present invention. Similarly, more than one control room or communications network are contemplated by the present invention. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, several stations as well as the control rooms are located within the airport, while other stations or control rooms might be inside or outside the airport, close by or remotely located.
To better facilitate the understanding of the present invention, an example of the operation of the present invention is provided next. In order to describe a typical series of agent-traveler interactions the following scenario will be assumed. The ticket purchase station is equipped with at least a computer, a microphone and a digital video camera. These devices, equipped with interfaces, feed data to the system of the present invention installed in a control room located remotely to the stations. The same devices are installed in each station. The traveler purchases a ticket for travel as per his personal details. The baggage screening station is equipped with baggage screening equipment, with or without an agent, and one or more digital cameras. The baggage screening station may include its own database. These devices, equipped with interfaces, feed data to system installed in the control room. The check-in station is equipped with at least a computer, a microphone and a digital video camera. These devices, equipped with interfaces, feed data to the system installed in the control room. At the check-in station a tag is given to the traveler for personal identification. The tag could be for example, a boarding card marked by a printed bar code, or a bar-code sticker attached to the boarding card or any other like marking that may identify the tag. Other possibilities are biometrics or electronic identification means that could be subsequently be read by the agents in such additional stations where the traveler passes through. The information in the tag is automatically transmitted to the control room in purpose to open a personal traveler's file in the database of the system. The passport control station is equipped with at least a computer, a microphone and a digital video camera. These devices, equipped with interfaces, feed data to system installed in the control room. In the passport control station additional identification equipment could be installed such as, for example, passport validation readers. The passenger screening station is equipped with a hand baggage and passenger screening equipment, with an agent, and a digital camera. These devices, equipped with interfaces, feed data to system) installed in the control room. The boarding station is equipped with at least a computer, a microphone and a digital video camera. These devices, equipped with interfaces, feed data to system installed in the control room. The traveler is likely to go through some or all of the stations, as per the directions valid at the specific port. While going through the specific stations traveler is manually or automatically identified by his tag and data is collected at the station, communicated to the system and stored in database in the travelers' personal file stored in the database. Such data could be, for example: a) At ticket purchase station, details known to the agent about traveler such as address, passport number, mode of payment for the ticket, previous transactions at the same stations, and video and audio recordings of the present transaction, and the like, b) At the check-in station, details of the seating in the vehicle of transportation, baggage weight and identity, hand baggage to be hand carried by the traveler and video and audio recordings of an “event”, c) At the passport control station, details on the passport presented by the traveler, results of any checks done by the passport officer and the video and audio recordings of the conversation between traveler and officer, d) At baggage screening station, screen capture of the traveler's baggage and video and audio recordings of the screening “event”.
The system stores data on the same traveler going through the process of boarding the airplane. Data is collected and updated once the traveler is processed at a specific station. A specific security application use the data stored in database to analyze, for example, the following data, having relevance on issues of flight security: a) Cross check the given identity and appearance of the traveler with databases of, for example, the Interpol or FBI related to “wanted” persons, b) Verify (tag and visual) that the same traveler passed all designated stations, c) Identify suspected behavior of traveler, d) Identify suspected luggage of traveler, e) Cross correlate the information collected at the stations for discrepancies, f) Cross check with previous travel interactions from other times or dates.
As noted above, the system can be used also for quality assurance of the interaction between agents and travelers. Because the agent-traveler interaction at specific stations is captured (video, audio and computer), a qualified examiner can review and analyze the records collected in the database and apply known criteria to grade the agents involved. The records in database, which reflect real life occurrences and behavior of both travelers and agents, can be used for training purposes of agents, operators and security personnel. The system can be used for other purposes than supervision of airports, for example: central train stations, hospitals and secured installations. Moreover, once the system detects a quality assurance issue an automatic training program for the agent or officer may be activated when the agent is idle. Feedback forms may also be automatically directed to agents and officers and travelers once a specific procedure has been followed so as to provide supervisors and controllers with feedback as to the system's operation.
The person skilled in the art will appreciate that what has been shown is not limited to the description above. Many modifications and other embodiments of the invention will be appreciated by those skilled in the art to which this invention pertains. It will be apparent that the present invention is not limited to the specific embodiments disclosed and those modifications and other embodiments are intended to be included within the scope of the invention. Although specific terms are employed herein, they are used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation.
It will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that the present invention is not limited to what has been particularly shown and described hereinabove. Rather the scope of the present invention is defined only by the claims, which follow.
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|International Classification||G08B31/00, G07C9/00|
|Cooperative Classification||G08B31/00, G07C9/00|
|European Classification||G07C9/00, G08B31/00|
|18 Jan 2005||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: NICE SYSTEMS LTD., ISRAEL
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:MANASSEH, FREDERICK MARK;BEN-TOV, OMRI;HADAD, ZION;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:015604/0763
Effective date: 20041115